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Squarewave to Heaven: An Introduction to Chiptune


Published 2007


An entire generation has now grown up with the likes of Atari, Nintendo, Sega and many other console systems, not to mention the "classic plastic" home computers of the 1980s. Throughout these last 25 years, the unmistakable sound of 8-bit chips have pervaded their ears and become a background soundtrack to their lives. Now, an entire scene of artists are using this unique and unmistakable sound to push musical boundaries, both recalling and outdoing what came before. Jeremiah Johnson (also known as Nullsleep) is one of the people at the forefront of this scene and will present both a history and a collection of works from this retrofuture soundscape.

Nullsleep uses Game Boys and NES consoles to create conceptually unique music that blends subversive hardware hacking with powerful melodic pop. In 1999, together with friend Mike Hanlon from Detroit, he cofounded the 8bitpeoples: a collective of artists interested in the audio/video aesthetics of early computers and videogames. In the time since, Nullsleep has released a number of recordings through 8bitpeoples, his most recent work focusing on music created with the Nintendo Game Boy and Nintendo Entertainment System platforms. His constant push for new ways to force the most out of yesterday's machines and the unparalleled romantic chiptune intensity embodied in his music have gained him notice worldwide. Whether thrashing away on a keyboard hooked up to a Game Boy like an electric guitar or rocking hacked NES cartridges, Nullsleep consistently demonstrates his passion for pushing the limits of both the hardware and the heart. In February of 2007, Nullsleep contributed a track to 8-bit operators, an 8-bit tribute album of remixed Kraftwerk songs, published on Astralwerks records.


Producer Nullsleep
Audio/Visual sound, color
Language English

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